Daniel Ammon (1814-1871)
Daniel Ammon was first mentioned in 1842 in a series of advertisements in the Wiener Zeitung. There he recommends himself as a manufacturer of woodworking tools. His product range is already quite extensive and includes benches, screw clamps and all kinds of planes. His factory is located at 213 Mariahilfer Hauptstraße.
In 1843 Ammon moved to Kaiserstraße No. 4, "zu Georgi", i.e. on 23 April. The newspaper advertisement in question also mentions that his factory had been in existence for several years. This raises the question of how many years are meant by this.
As early as 1838 there was already a factory for carpentry tools at the address Mariahilfer Hauptstraße no. 213, but it did not belong to Daniel Ammon, but to a joiner named Johann Walz. This is shown in an entry in an address book of that year. Ammon can therefore have taken over this factory in 1838 at the earliest, more likely in 1839. Walz is already mentioned in 1834 as a toolmaker and then in 1835 as a manufacturer of joiner's and turner's tools, albeit under different addresses in each case. One can only speculate whether Ammon learned from Walz and then took over the business or bought it after Walz died or went bankrupt.
In any case, he successively expanded his business in the following years and added other areas of business; he did not limit himself to tools for joiners and turners, Ammon also produced tools for wainwrights, coopers and bookbinders made of wood, steel and iron, his plane irons were laminated with cast steel as at Wertheim and Weiss & Sohn. It is not clear from the advertisements whether Ammon produced these irons himself or bought them in.
He also traded in wood and veneer. The extent of his business can also be seen from the "Niederlagen" (today we say branches) where his tools could be bought. He had his own salesroom at Landstraße 140 in Vienna and also consignment stocks at several dealers in Vienna (see address book entries below).
All in all, one can say that he was a serious competitor for Wertheim and Weiss & Sohn, at least in the first half of the 1840s. However, unlike the other two, he apparently did not participate in any trade exhibitions and limited his business only to Vienna.
This competitive relationship is underlined by a comparison of the advertisements of Ammon and Weiss in the Wiener Zeitung in 1842. Between March and December, Daniel Ammon placed a total of 19 advertisements, while Johann Weiss (at that time not yet Weiss & Sohn) placed "only" 16 advertisements in the same period. So it is fair to say that the two manufacturers competed on equal terms (at least in 1842).
In the course of the 1850s, however, Weiss and Wertheim developed into large industrial companies, a leap that Daniel Ammon did not manage.
As far as Ammon's personal history is concerned, it must be mentioned that his son Gustav died in 1849 in his first year "of emaciation" (probably tuberculosis).
In 1861 Daniel Ammon is a member of the provisional committee to found a local group of the Protestant Gustav Adolf Foundation in Gumpendorf. The background to this was the "Protestant Patent" issued by Emperor Franz Joseph in the same year, which for the first time in the Monarchy granted the Protestant Church relatively extensive legal equality with the Catholic Church. Among other things, Protestants were allowed to found their own associations, the first of which was in Gumpendorf.
On 26 October 1861, the company Daniel Ammon is entered in the commercial register. Only one week later, on 2 November 1861, compensation proceedings are initiated against Daniel Ammon "due to cessation of payments".
However, there is probably no direct connection between these events, because with the introduction of a new trade regulation in 1860, registration in the commercial register became obligatory for companies with simple (formal) factory authorisation.
In 1863, the last entry of the company appears in an address book.
One year later, on 1 December 1864, the composition proceedings of 1861 are discontinued and at the same time bankruptcy is declared against Daniel Ammon.
This means the end of the company in 1865.
Daniel Ammon choosed his own end ten years later: He hanged himself on 24 November 1875.
This plough plane by Daniel Ammon is in the possession of my collector colleague Anton Vierthaler, who brought it back to Vienna from the USA (!). The most striking feature of this plane is a metal inlay on the back of the plane iron bed, which I do not know from any other plane. The iron is not original, it is an English replacement iron.
I am not sure whether this plane from my collection was actually made by Daniel Ammon. It does not bear a maker's stamp to that effect. The main reason for my assumption that this could be an Ammon plane is the metal inlay in the plane iron bed, which I only know from the above plane by Daniel Ammon. Apart from that, there are some differences, especially the wing nuts on the side. Overall, it looks older, it could have been made in the early 1840s. Unfortunately, the iron has no recognisable maker's mark.